Safety within the International Space Station

Tim Peake, British Astronaut has explained the health and safety procedures used at the International Space Station.

In his FAQ Tim was asked, ‘What would happen if someone got sick or injured in space?’

Tim explained, “All astronauts are trained to a very high level in first aid. In addition, there are always at least two Crew Medical Officers (CMOs) on board that can deal with basic surgical procedures, such as filling teeth or suturing, for example. Both Tim Kopra and I are trained CMOs.”

“We have a medicine cabinet, which is like a small pharmacy, containing everything from analgesic painkillers and antihistamines to sleep aids, all the way up to antibiotics and local anaesthetics.”

“We also have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on board for resuscitation and we have procedures that include using a spacesuit as a personal pressure chamber if we needed to treat a crewmember suffering from ‘the bends’ following a spacewalk.”

He then went on to explain what would happen if someone were to develop a serious illness while in space.

“If we developed a serious illness, like appendicitis for example, the situation would be assessed by our doctors on the ground whether it would be better to stay on board and use medication, or to return to Earth (appendix removal is not standard procedure for astronauts prior to flight).”

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